While I love hiking the trails in Colorado, I have found a new hobby that makes it even better. Metal detecting in Colorado along the trails is more fun than I imagined and I have found several artifacts, making my treks profitable.
Metal detecting is not specifically addressed by Colorado State Park Regulations which makes it difficult in many instances to figure out where you can and canâ€™t detect. Even in parks and trails that allow detecting in Colorado, park managers can restrict use in certain areas. Regardless where ever you metal detect in Colorado, you just canâ€™t dig any artifact that is one hundred years old.
State parks, in general, do not permit detecting. Detecting in Colorado State parks is allowed only at the discretion of the park manager. You need to check with each park manager before detecting. I have been able to get permission, the latest at the beach (small as it may be) at Cherry Creek Reservoir State Park. Recently, I also tried Estes Park, but the tourists were just too much to deal with, so instead I hunted the trail heads and parks. If you are real lucky you might be able to get permission to detect the Haunted Stanley Hotel in Estes Park like I had the opportunity to.
Most mountain areas outside city limits are owned and operated by the National Forestry Service. My experience in the short time of detecting is that searching on NFS property is perfectly fine. As far as Colorado Springs, their Parks and Rec rules make no mention of not being able to metal detect, nor do they say no digging. It’s one of those types of places where you go, and if someone hassles you, you just smile and move on. Be sure to watch out for designated ‘wilderness’ areas and also be aware there are parcels of private property included in NFS land so watch out for signs or mining claim stakes. Coloradans can be temperamental about their private property so you may want to be respectful.
Many of the front range areas are “Open Space” parks and there are rules about tearing up vegetation which some interpret that digging is a no-no. Jefferson Countyâ€™s Open Space parks prohibits the removal of anything from the ground as noted in Reg.100(b)(2).
Reg.#100(b)(2) “It shall be prohibited to remove, destroy, mutilate, modify or deface any structure, water control device, poster, notice, sign or marker, tree, shrub, or other plant or vegetation, including dead timber and forest litter, or any object of archaeological, geological, historical, zoological or natural / environmental value or interest on Parks and Outdoor Recreation Lands.
So, if you are looking to do more along the trails give metal detecting in Colorado a try. You donâ€™t know what you can find!